AMA: I’m a Global Travel Operations Manager. Ask me anything about business travel!

TravelBank sRIG4
Feb 13 170 Comments

EDIT: 2/13 9pm PT I'm signing off for the night but will check back in the morning to answer as many of your new questions as I can.

I’m an operations and customer experience expert within the travel industry, currently, serving as the global travel operations manager at a San Francisco-based travel and expense management company.

I oversee the company’s travel support agents and work with our revenue and product teams to ensure we are delivering excellent travel support to customers 24/7/365.

Ask me about:

Anything related to customer experience
How to find the best travel deals
Handling travel emergencies
Travel industry myths and secrets

#businesstravel

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TOP 170 Comments
  • Twitch qKya31
    Hi.... how do you think the customer experience between the traveler and TMC will change for 2020?
    Feb 13 1
    • TravelBank sRIG4
      OP
      Hi. Thanks for your question!
      My opinion is that there are two different types of travelers, ones who still enjoy the human experience and those that enjoy technology to process their travel on their own. We will always have a need to have human connection, for the emergency situations, last minute changes and as a travel advisor, because of this more and more it is not only about expertise but a level of empathy that those "advisors" can express in stressful situations and deliver delightful customer experiences at the human touchpoints.
      Feb 13
  • Amazon AMZN_14
    Do you have to be a travel agent to have access to Sabre booking for flights? How complicated is to become one and are there any associated recurring charges? I had multiple cases when I wish I could force in an itinerary found on matrix.itasoftware.com using online travel sites but I could not even with multi-city options. Booking with matrix would show me booking links to TA but they would end up not yielding anything bookable. Thanks!
    Feb 13 1
    • TravelBank sRIG4
      OP
      Really good question here!
      Yes, you need a particular license and partnership with Sabre in order to have access to a PCC (psuedo city). One way you could do this is by partnering with your TMC. Makes sense that you might have not been able to book since a lot of times online tools such as matrix, don't always show the exact availability as in the GDS (global distribution system) because the connection lags and is not 100% a direct connection.
      Feb 13
  • I hate concur.

    Sorry, comment not a Q.
    Feb 13 8
    • SAP betel
      Sorry to hear, G Money. This is poor user experience, and we should be doing better. You mentioned 'customer experience' else I'd have suggested to raise a high prio ticket for this AND inform your responsible team, so they raise these issues as a company, to Concur
      Feb 13
    • My colleagues and I have literally booked flights and selected seats, then come travel time, we lose the seats. No explanation, no notification. All we got was a preemptive “seats are not guaranteed”. Corporate booking pays a premium, this is a minimum. Then we have to call customer service, and that’s another hassle. Receipts are in courier block text. There’s an endless list of complaints.
      Feb 14
  • What's the best way to find cheap business class flights outside of travel portals/points? So agents get better rates ?
    Feb 13 10
    • Amazon xGBnsI7
      Some companies let you use CWT for personal bookings some don’t. But they negotiate rates with airlines in exchange for volume
      Feb 13
    • TravelBank sRIG4
      OP
      TravelBank does this as well. It is especially helpful for small companies that usually don't qualify for negotiated rates with their own volume. By creating a closed user group for all of our customers, we can negotiate TravelBank exclusive rates on behalf of all of them.
      Feb 13
  • When will Concur die an ugly death?
    Feb 13 3
    • SAP betel
      What's your competitive advantage over Concur? TravelBank has a big list of partners, but that apart, and possible cost advantages to the employee (from utilizing these partnerships), what do you have to offer over other travel providers in the market?
      Feb 13
    • TravelBank sRIG4
      OP
      First for that comparison I'd say the technology is a huge competitive advantage. Concur is very heavy old school tech which some huge enterprise accounts still need, but many businesses today are looking for a better, lightweight tech solution. Of the new solutions out there, TravelBank is really the only one that can offer a complete in-house, mobile-first expense and travel solution. We also have great vision, always innovating to provide a simple, cost effective way to revolutionize the travel experience for companies and their people. Like adding our travel marketplace. And great people. The team is super driven to build and deliver on a better experience.
      Feb 13
  • Microsoft KmxCtP
    What’s the worst travel emergency you’ve ever had to handle?
    Feb 13 4
    • Flexport FL3XF@ST
      They said worked out a different route, not canceled...
      Feb 13
    • TravelBank sRIG4
      OP
      <3 @FL3XF@ST you get me :)
      Feb 13
  • Salesforce pinakolada
    I don’t have a question for you, but I’ve to say that you’re rocking this AmA by patiently answering all questions.
    Feb 13 2
    • TravelBank sRIG4
      OP
      Thanks!
      Feb 13
    • TravelBank 007n
      Agreed! Great AMA OP.
      Feb 13
  • TripActions XAWe02
    How are you different than TripActions?
    Feb 13 3
    • TripActions XAWe02
      Wow! What is your favorite part of your culture?

      Your support team is remote? Ours is based in Dallas, they have to go into the office like a call center.

      Interesting to hear the difference. Thanks for the insight!
      Feb 13
    • TravelBank sRIG4
      OP
      For me, it’s the way we care about our people and are not just an employee number. We have a very open and honest environment here. Everyone wants each other to win in whatever endeavors we pursue and I love that. It’s truly a family around here.
      Feb 14
  • New / Creative
    mnSJ55

    New Creative

    PRE
    Amazon
    mnSJ55more
    So, in your opinion is the customer always right? How do you handle challenging customers?
    Feb 13 2
    • TravelBank sRIG4
      OP
      As a leader within the customer experience space, this might be a bit taboo to say...but no I don't always think that the customer is right. What I do think is that we can always come to a compromise and it's important for support to own when we are in the wrong. However, if we are not wrong, it's good to display empathy and craftsmanship in your conversation in order to give a good experience even if you are delivering bad news.
      Feb 13
    • New / Creative
      mnSJ55

      New Creative

      PRE
      Amazon
      mnSJ55more
      Wow! I love your answer. Thanks.
      Feb 13
  • Oracle / Mgmt stields
    What’s the best US airline overall in your opinion? Or if you prefer, best for domestic and best for international flights?
    Feb 13 2
    • TravelBank sRIG4
      OP
      Honestly, this is a tough one haha.
      Asia travel: Cathay Pacific
      Domestic: Alaska (CX is exceptional from phone to in flight)
      Europe Travel: British or Lufthansa. All depends on where in europe really.
      Feb 13
    • Oracle / Mgmt stields
      I agree about Alaska. I’ve flown Lufthansa a few times and had good experiences also.
      Feb 13

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